While a large number of leads may seem preferable upon first thought, unless they have been qualified, a lot of time will be required to identify if the prospects are suitable before you can nurture the leads towards a sale. The opportunity cost of this process may be loss of high-quality leads and sales, and time taken from completing client and other strategic work. Therefore, lead qualification is an incredibly important aspect of effective lead generation. In this week’s blog post, we will give you the tools for how to qualify your way to better leads to ensure your efforts are profitable.
What is a Qualified Lead?
It might sound simple and obvious; however, the process should begin by understanding what a qualified lead looks like to your business. It’s incredibly important that your marketing team understand the ideal customer to ensure that the business’ messaging and advertising lines up for the best results. For example, if your business sells software as a service (SaaS) products that are highly integrated and expensive, a high quality lead could be the owner or ultimate decision maker of a company that turns over more than $1 million per year and has a sizeable budget for their technical solutions, meaning they would have to be a well-established business, not a start-up. On the other hand, if your business offers coaching services to female entrepreneurs, brand-new business owners in their late twenties with big ideas could be your ideal customer. It’s best to get as clear as possible so you can easily rule out any leads that you’re sure won’t convert into a sale.
Craft a Unique Value Proposition (UVP)
As we just eluded to, it’s important to ensure your messaging appeals to your ideal customer. By having a niche strategy and doubling down on the issues and problems your ideal customer may have that you can provide a solution for, you will feel like the right fit over your competitors. Contrary to popular belief, by niching your offering and targeting your products and services to a narrow audience, you won’t lose out on other potential customers that don’t exactly match the archetype. The idea here is to be able to speak to a particular type of person, you will still appeal to and capture others outside of this as well. For example, you could target your interior design online course to young adults who aspire to become an interior designer, however, others who have a hobby interest in interior design or those simply older could still sign up and benefit.
Educate Your Target Market
Utilising your marketing efforts to educate your ideal customer on the ins and outs of your offering will ensure they are warm leads before they contact you. Effectively, you can also have your leads qualify themselves by asking them to apply to purchase your products or services if you have a high-ticket offering, disclose your price so you know anyone contacting you can actually afford the price, or by conveying who the product or service isn’t intended for. With these methods, it’s pertinent that you clearly outline the value you provide as it will require potential customers to jump through more hoops. You will then be able to track where your best and highest quality leads that convert are coming from to have more control over your lead qualification process.
In saying this, be careful not to over qualify leads as some customers may want to purchase a small offering initially to test if they are happy to enter into a longer-term agreement or larger investment.
Marketing automation is highly effective when connected to your CRM system as it will allow you to track customer behaviour and take action on the data. You will be able to guide them through their journey from initially learning about your business to eventually purchasing with channels such as your website, email, social media channels and sales channels. Your marketing team will be able to build robust campaigns to ensure they are delivering the right message to the right person at the time when it’s most needed.
With your marketing automation, it is important to know the difference between interest and intent. For example, a website visitor looking at blog posts, webinars and your free eBooks indicates that they are interested in your company, but they may not be ready to buy. They may just be happy to consume your free content. On the other hand, a website visitor looking at your pricing page or requesting more information or a demo indicates that they have intent, they are a warm lead that you should nurture. When it comes to your sales process, focus the majority of your efforts towards those who are showing intent signals as they are the higher quality leads that will most likely convert.
Lead Qualification Methodology
While lead qualification is not a one size fits all approach as all businesses are different, methodologies like the BANT framework developed by IBM are helpful to follow. Here are some questions to ask your leads.
B for Budget
Will your lead be able to afford your solution?
How much are they already spending on a similar solution (if applicable)?
How much do they lose if they ignore the problem?
What is their desired ROI?
What is their budget range for your product or service?
Are they price sensitive?
A for Authority
Is the lead the final decision-maker?
If not, how many other people are involved?
What concerns would the decision-maker have?
Who would be your point of contact if a purchase is made?
N is for Need
How did they hear about your business or offering?
What are the challenges or problems they are faced with?
Does the problem need to be solved urgently?
What are their business goals as they relate to your offering?
What motivated them to look for or be interested in your solution?
T is for Timing
Is the solution you provide a current priority?
When do they plan on addressing the problems that you solve?
Are they exploring other solutions or business options?
By asking your lead these questions, or as many as possible if you can’t find the answers prior to communication, you will quickly gain an understanding of their propensity to purchase and if it would be worthwhile investing more time in your sales process with the goal of conversion.
Lead and Customer Generation
Are you already under the pump running your business and servicing your current customers that you don’t have time for lead generation, lead qualification and lead nurturing? At Evie Studios, we build full, custom, end-to-end lead generation funnel solutions to help you generate the high-quality clients you’ve always dreamed of.
Feel free to get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org to book a strategy call, we’d be more than happy to chat to you about how we can help your business grow.
(02) 8006 4212